I’m not usually a selfie-taker, but there have been some selfie stations that were just so funny, I couldn’t pass them up. There was the time I posed inside a reproduction Baker’s Dunk at an old Silesian castle (#torturemuseum). Perhaps you’ve been known to stick your head through a picture of a jouster at a Renaissance Festival (#renfair), or stand inside a large speech bubble in a major city (#BeBerlin) – or even to simply pose with a costumed mascot at a sports game (#GoNats). All of these are ways businesses and institutions use to get someone else to do the marketing for them.
Small business owners have limited resources when it comes to online marketing – limits both on staff hours and funding available to dedicate to promoting the business on social media. However, this doesn’t mean they have to resolve themselves to being hindered by these limits. One way of getting more exposure on social media is to use your network of customers and to take some advantage of their love of selfies.
Selfie stations and other types of photo stations are becoming popular as a way to promote businesses from zoos to corner delis. A photo station is great for raising awareness about your shop, an in-store promotion, or even for ensuring exposure on social media during or after an event.
Here are three examples of ways photo stations are being used for promotion on social media.
Junge die Backerei is a bakery chain in Germany. To promote the café’s new avocado sandwich, the company created a large standing poster of a bread roll holding an avocado above it. Café visitors could stick their head through a hole in the poster and have a photo taken of themselves inside the belly of an avocado. At the top of the poster, you see #JungeAvocado in a large font. A search on Instagram brings up photos people posted of themselves, friends, or family members in the belly of the avocado.
A Retail/Entertainment Hotspot
The Waterfront is touted as “Pittsburgh’s premier lifestyle and shopping destination,” so it makes sense the management of the location uses a selfie station to get visitors to share images on social media. The big chair at the heart of the shopping district includes the corporate logo and tagline – “Where Tradition Meets Trend” – as well as #waterfrontpgh. Just to the side of the chair is a sign with the “call-to-action” inviting picture takers to share their pics on four different social media platforms. A search on Instagram and Twitter retrieves hundreds of photos of people, kids, and the occasional pet sitting on the chair.
The Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic wants you to spread the word about its facilities. Of course, because it’s a place where families go, the zoo knows parents will be taking pictures of their children there. That’s why you’ll see many statues for kids to climb on – or in – for a picture. Next to each of these statues is a small fake tree stump with a sign, encouraging photo-takers to share the picture on Instagram using the hashtag #ZOOOSTRAVA. A quick scan of Instagram reveals that the signs encouraging photo-sharing are successful not just in getting parents to share pics of their kids with the statues. People of all ages share their photos using the promoted hashtag.
Tips for a Successful Promotion
If you’re planning to use a selfie station or photo station to encourage your patrons to help promote your business or event, here are some tips to get the most out of your promotion.
Include your business name or logo.
As you can see in the photo of the #JungeAvocado bakery promotion above, there is no information about the business itself on the promotional poster. If people share the photo, no one will even know where it was taken, unless they click on the hashtag to see who else was promoting it, and try to discern from that which of the promoters was the actual sponsor of the poster. For the #WaterfrontPGH photo station, the district’s logo and tagline are prominent on the big chair. The Ostrava Zoo and the Waterfront district both use their actual name as the hashtag to promote, so it’s easy to know what business or location is being hyped.
Include a Call-to-Action.
Again, the #JungeAvocado promotion is lacking because it includes no information about what you should do with the photo once you’ve taken it. It tells visitors to “Take a photo with me,” but that’s it. Both the #WaterfrontPGH and #ZOOOSTRAVA campaigns include a small sign with the crucial call-to-action encouraging people to share the image, and letting them know which specific social media channels they could share it on.
Pick your platform (optional).
Your business might not be on every social media platform, so when you are making a call-to-action, you should specify the social media platforms on which you want photo-takers to share their pics. If you’re not on Snapchat, any posts there will be less effective than if you’re highly active on Instagram. One thing to consider about encouraging sharing your hashtag on Facebook – unless the person has their post privacy set to “Public,” no one outside of their friend group will see the photo, which pretty much renders the hashtag use irrelevant. Private posts using your hashtag will never appear in a public search for the hashtag.
A selfie station or photo station is also a useful way to promote a giveaway in order to get more traffic to your social media profiles and raise awareness about your business to the friends and followers of your current customers. The giveaway could say that your business will offer a free gift to someone who posts their photo from your selfie station using your hashtag. Not only will that inspire them to share the photo with your hashtag, but it can be a great way to draw more people to your business so that they can take a selfie and post it for a chance to win.
Have you ever considered a selfie or photo station for your business? What was your experience?
Bernadette Geyer helps small businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives expand their reach through clear, concise, and compelling copy in English, so that they can attract more customers with consistent and memorable marketing content. Her “Rule Your Digital Domain” service helps businesses make sure their website and social media profiles are working to attract more customers. You can see her full list of services here.